The toolkit, developed by the World Council of Churches (WCC), includes posters with toll-free numbers of national helplines, as well as a Spiritual Life booklet with a selection of Bible studies, songs and prayers supporting church engagement on ending sexual violence against children. This booklet includes a hymn which was composed for the “Out of the Shadows” campaign by a WCC member church in Argentina.
The material also includes an information sheet designed to help churches link “Out of the Shadows” activities with the Thursdays in Black campaign for a world free from rape and violence.
These resources—from images to stories, from songs to prayers—are designed to support child protection and to help the adults in their lives talk about a topic many find challenging.
As one prayer by Rev. Dr Thabo Makgoba, archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, reads: “We pray that your church may be like you, a shelter and a refuge. May our buildings and our communities be safe places for those who put their trust in us…We pray that wherever there has been harm, we may be instruments of your healing, wholeness and hope.”
New translations, wider reach
With the new translations, churches can help protect and support even more children, said Frederique Seidel, programme executive for Child Rights. “New translations of the toolkit will allow for more churches to engage in the Out of the Shadows campaign, in Hispanic and Francophone regions,” she said. “By adapting the proposed materials to their communities, churches worldwide can be better equipped to prevent child abuse and strengthen access to support for those at risk.”
The toolkit was developed in collaboration with ten pilot countries across the world, and with support from Ignite Philantrophy and The Economist Intelligence Unit.
The campaign’s name is based off a phrase coined by the Economist Intelligence Unit of the Economist Group on global business intelligence, which developed an Out of the Shadows Index that measures how national actors in 60 countries address child sexual abuse and exploitation. The index, which focuses on policies, practices and standards, reveals that much more needs to be done to achieve the United Nations goal of ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.
The Out of the Shadows project ties into Churches’ Commitments to Children, created in 2017 through a WCC partnership’s with UNICEF, and resulting in a comprehensive and impactful action plan developed with churches, child rights experts and children themselves.
You can access the Out of the Shadows toolkit here